Diet and Food Prescriptions to Treat Gout
Large amounts of water help flush out the kidneys and excrete uric acid
Gout is a form of arthritis which is characterized by pain and swelling of the joints (commonly the first joint of the big toe, elbows and knees) and occurs due to raised levels of the serum uric acid.
What Causes Gout?
Gout develops due to an increased synthesis of uric acid or the reduced ability to excrete uric acid. Uric acid is created because of the breakdown of purine, a molecule found in DNA and RNA.
Numerous diet factors are known to spark off an attack of gout, including:
- high intake of purine-rich foods
- excessive consumption of alcohol
- high fat diet
- increased intake of refined carbohydrates
What are the Symptoms of Gout?
The first episode of gout is typified by excruciating pain, usually in one joint. The first joint to be affected is the first joint of the big toe.
The episode usually begins in the night and is set off either by a dietary excess or alcohol excess or trauma or certain drugs. Fever and chills may appear.
Dietary Management for Gout
The dietary treatment of gout involves the following:
- Consume a low purine diet, i.e., keep away from herring, anchovies, mackerel, roe, sardines, organ meat, yeast, asparagus, spinach, peas, mushrooms and shellfish.
- Eliminate alcohol from the diet. Alcohol increases uric acid production by accelerating the breakdown of purine. What’s more, it reduces the excretion of uric acid by increasing lactate production, which impairs the functioning of the kidneys.
- Increase the consumption of complex carbohydrates, i.e., whole cereals and vegetables.
- Step up the intake of water. Liberal intake of fluids keeps the urine diluted and promotes excretion of uric acid. It also aids in flushing the kidneys.
- Increase the consumption of cherries, blueberries and celery. These foods have proved to be highly effective in the management of gout. They lower blood uric acid levels appreciably.
- Restrict the intake of fat. Weight reduction drastically helps diminish blood uric acid level.
- Lower the intake of proteins. This helps to reduce the burden on the kidneys, which are already taxed with the elimination of uric acid.
A low purine diet has long been the mainstay of diet therapy for gout. Alongside weight reduction, this type of diet provides other benefits. Obesity has been strongly linked to increased risk for gout. Thus, planning the right diet, incorporating the correct foods and steering clear of the wrong ones helps keep the blood uric acid level in check and prevents a precipitation of an attack of gout.